MARY MATHIESON MCQUARRIE BUNKER|
By Winona Earl Wittwer
My Grandmother, Mary McQuarrie, was born the 23rd of August 1846, at (Climbreahead, renfrewshire) Kilmolcolm Parish, Scotland. She was the youngest child of Allen and Agnes Mathieson McQuarrie. Her brothers and sisters were Robert, Hector, Mary Graham, Neil, Agnes, and John.
After her father and mother were married, they went to live on a farm owned by Robert and Mary Holm. Her father worked here 16 years on this farm. The last three years, he suffered severely with a pain in his right leg. He had this leg taken off above the knee with a knife and meat saw without benefit of an anesthetic. He being no longer able to support his family, his wife, Agnes, had to work and wash to support them. Her sons helped with the farm work.
Hector heard the gospel while he was working as an apprentice in a shop. The missionaries came to the shop to talk to the owner. Hector listened attentively and then went to the meetings they held. He was converted and became a member of the Latter-Day Saints Church. He helped convert the rest of the family.
When Robert and Mary Holms, auntie and uncle of this family, died, they left their property to the McQuarrie family. This was a great financial help to this poor family. Hector, now 21 years old, was given some of this money and sent to Utah in 1855 to build a home and get ready for the family to come later. He settled in Ogden, Utah. On the 19th of March, 1857, the rest of the family left Grenock, Scotland and sailed to Liverpool, England. They stayed here 8 days and then sailed on the ship "George Washington" for Boston. On the 1st day of May they all left Boston. They crossed the plains with other pioneers from Scotland. Grandmother Mary was 10 years old. She and her mother walked part of the way across the plains.
After the long, weary journey, they arrived in Ogden safely. How happy they were to greet their son and brother, Hector, whom they hadn't seen for two years. Robert had money enough to buy a 40-acre farm. He bought a lot on which they built a home for his father, mother, and family. Grandmother's parents lived here until their death in 1885.
Grandmother Mary was a very pretty girl. She had black hair and her eyes sparkled with laughter. Her charming disposition gained for her the love of many dear friends. She lived in a good home for pioneer days. Her parents, brother, and sisters were kind, true and devoted to each other. Her mother was a very capable homemaker. She taught Grandmother while young in all the ways of good housekeeping. Here she learned the art of sewing, for she was an expert seamstress. Her needlework was finer than a machine could do. She was trained in all the arts of weaving, suit making, and cooking. Her children told me that she had the art of making plain, simple food taste delicious. None excelled her in the art of thrift. She was truly a Scotch lady in every way.
Her education was very limited for a girl, because she married early in her life. On the 20th of April, 1861, she married Edward Bunker as his third wife. This marriage has few parallels and one that staggers the imagination. For this girl of 15 years married a man 24 years older than she was. His first wife, Emily had at this time, 6 children; the second wife, Sarah, four children. The eldest son, Edward was just 6 months younger than Grandmother Mary. Grandmother never was to regret this marriage. She had a deep and abiding faith in the Gospel and believed in the principal of plural marriage. She came to know by experience that if this law were lived as God intended it should be, in honor and true live, it would refine and purify the soul as nothing else would. She loved her husband dearly. Grandfather Edward was a noble man, one of the stalwarts of this Church in its very beginning. Grandmother Mary always taught her children to love and obey their Father and to love Aunt Sarah and their children.
In the fall of 1861 Father Bunker took his wives and children to St. George and Santa Clara. Here Grandmother was to really know and experience the hardships of pioneer life. In 1863, her son Martin was born. At this time she was living with her brother, Hector, who moved to St. George at the same time the Bunkers did. She was seriously ill when Martin was born. Grandfather gave her a blessing and she and the baby were saved through the prayer of faith.
In the next 13 years she was blessed with four more children, Viola, John Francis, and Mary Emily. There isn't too much known of the intimate experiences of Grandmother from the time her son, Martin, was born until she and her family went down on the Virgin River with Grandfather Bunker. We do know, however, she moved about from St. George to Pine Valley then to Panguitch and back to Santa Clara. She helped all she could with cheese and butter making, carding, spinning and sewing for their growing families. Grandmother had a pleasing personality. She gave all around her a cheery smile, a kind word, and a helping hand. Uncle Ezra tells me she often read from her book of Scottish poems to them and then sang the beautiful Scotch songs, "Annie Laurie", "Coming Through the Rye", and "Auld Lang Syne", and many a time she had cause to sing "Ye Banks and Braes of Bonny Doon, How can ye bloom so fresh and fair, How can ye sing, ye little bird and I so weary, full of care." What sorrows she had, she kept buried deep in her heart. They in no way marred her love for those around her, for well she knew every heart has it's own sorrow. She loved the Gospel dearly; for this she came so far from that beautiful country, Scotland. Constantly she prayed to her Father in Heaven for strength and courage to carry on under trying circumstances.
In the spring of 1877, she with her children and Father Bunker, went to the Virgin Valley in Nevada. Here they build her first home on the hill. It was nothing but a shed with a wagon cover over her bed for shelter from the rain and sun. Her next home was at the old mill site just down off the hill from where they lived before. Uncle Eddie and Uncle Myron Abbott with their families and Grandmother and her family lived here in a dugout, a wagon, and one small room.
As soon as the land was cleared and the town site was laid out, Grandmother moved into town. Her one lumber-room was put near the old Earl home. Her meager furniture was 2 beds, a small stove, wooden benches, and a table. The cracks between the upright board walls were so large the sand poured in during the hard windstorms. Grandmother and her children scraped the sand out with a hoe. Her sons, Ezra and Robert, were born in this home. Grandfather gave her a large lot in the heart of this new town, Bunkerville. Her lumber-room was pulled down on this lot. Uncle Ezra told me he remembers that Uncle Eddie said to him and his brothers, "Come on boys, we must build your Mother a better home." Uncle Martin was now about 20 years old, and he no doubt assumed the major responsibility of the building of this home. It was, at first, one large adobe room with a cellar underneath; later two rooms were added. Grandfather gave Grandmother and her sons a farm. They farmed this land, hauled freight, and carried the mail, and worked at odd jobs everywhere they could to make a living.
Grandmother and her children dearly loved Uncle Eddie and Aunt Minta. Well can we understand this, for he was their elder brother, their Bishop, and advisor in their work, business, and farming. How providential that this noble man assumed the role of father to this growing family. Their own father was now well along in years and had grown worn out with the hard work for his Church, his government, and his family. He didn't have the physical strength to assume all that must be done. He did love and appreciate his wives and children. He prayed as a righteous man could that they would grow to be noble men and women, true to God, loved ones and country. Grandmother's son, Hector, was born in this new home and soon after it was built. Three or four years later, Edward and Israel were born. These two boys passed away as babies. The loss of these babies was a real heart breaking experience for this loving mother. She was able to endure this sorrow like others, through prayer.
All was not hard work and trials in this town. There were many socials, rag or quilting bees, programs, and dances. Mary went to all whenever she could and took her part in making the pioneer life happier. To illustrate: The Orange Leavitt family decided to have a cotton-picking bee in their field about a mile from town. They invited every adult in the town but grandmother. They thought she wasn't well enough to go. She heard of their plans. She said nothing and made her own plans. When all the folks drove into the field at sunrise the next morning, there was grandmother in the middle of the field picking cotton and laughing at them for the joke she played on them. She had walked down alone earlier.
Grandmother held but one position in the Church that I know of. She was a Relief Society District teacher for 12 years. She was released from this position on the 21st of July, 1891, because of her many duties as a nurse. She helped all she could with their activities. She donated tie and money when needed. Often in their meetings, she bore her testimony of the divinity of the Gospel and their need to be faithful in keeping God's commandments and teaching their children to do right.
In the Relief Society meeting on the 19th of March, 1884, President Emily suggested the Relief Society sisters hire Mina Gray to train Grandmother and Marish Leavitt to be nurses. Mina Gray was a trained nurse from Scotland and was there visiting at the time. The sisters did as was suggested. They furnished Mrs. Gray a room and food for about 3 months, and she trained these women to be nurses, or midwives as then called. Grandmother was 38 years old at this time. She was set apart for this calling on the 20th of September, 1885, by Amasa R. Lyman, Brother Hatch, A. W. Ivins, and my father, Joseph I. Earl. Nursing was her contribution to the community and many times she was called to go to other towns.
This noble service she did not do alone. Heavily she leaned on her Heavenly Father for the strength, ability, and inspiration as to the right thing to do. She prayed for wisdom and judgment in this serious business of bringing children into the world. She was called on many times when babies, children, or adults were ill and even for sick animals, for help in doctoring them. She gave comfort and solace to sorrowing loved ones and friends. Before Aunt Abbot passed away, she asked grandmother to take her baby and raise it. This grandmother gladly tried to do, but all to no avail. The baby later passed away. Luke Whitney told me the Lord and Grandmother saved his mother when his brother Sthol was born. She stayed in their home one month to nurse her until she was well. She was very kind to gypsies that came into town. This incident is so like her. A gypsy man stood outside the gate of their lot with Hector and Carlo, the dog, on the inside keeping him out. Grandmother heard the commotion and went out to see what caused it. The man soon had Grandmother understanding what he wanted. But Hector pleaded with her not to go with the man for fear he would harm her. Grandmother reassured Hector that she would be all right. Then she went with the gypsy a mile below town. She delivered the mother and cared for her and the newborn baby. For the next 10 days she walked each day down and back to care for them both.
Uncle Ezra told me that one time some cattlemen from St. George came down near Bunkerville to take care of their cattle. On their way they found a man who was bleeding very badly. They rushed him to Grandmother. She soon stopped the bleeding, then cared for him a few days. He went on this way a very grateful man. Another time, word had come that the marshals or sheriffs were coming to town. Some of the men hurriedly took their wives to the mountain. Uncle Steven came for Grandmother to take her also. She knew there was a mother in town expecting a baby anytime, and would need her help. She refused to go no matter how he urged her. Fortunately, the marshal did not come. For over 10 years this loving patient nurse went from home to home---day time and night time---wind and storm, heat and cold, to care for the sick. Her daughters Viola and Mary, assumed the housework and often worked in the field and garden. Her sons were good workers too. They were a normal family though, and in the process of growing up, they often needed the firm discipline this gentle mother could give when occasion demanded. Her loving care and noble example and proper discipline surely won, for she reared to womanhood and manhood two lovely daughters and six fine sons.
Her son, Martin, was the first young man to go on a mission from the Bunkerville Ward. Her sons John, Ezra, and Robert, went on missions also. Robert went on his mission after the death of his mother. Grandmother only made two trips that we know of in her lifetime to visit her parents and loved ones in Ogden. In the early days, it took a month by wagon and team to make the trip. She went once when Uncle John was a baby. The last time she went to Ogden to meet Uncle John when he came off his mission. She was taken by teams to Modena, then she went by train to Ogden. When she got off the train, no one was there to meet her. She walked over to a policeman standing near by, put her arm in his and said, "I am not going to let go until you take me where I need to go." This he gladly did. Who would refuse such a charming woman? They had a wonderful visit with her loved ones. Her parents had passed away by now. When Uncle John and Grandmother came back to Modena, Uncle Ezra was there to meet them. They all went by buggy and team to Gunlock to visit some more relatives. While they were there, Uncle Ed Leavitt and Aunt Elethier Leavitt notified all the town folks to come to the church. Uncle John reported his mission to them and gave a wonderful gospel sermon. How happy his mother was to hear him preach. ON their way home, they called on their friends and loved ones, especially calling on her brother, Hector, in St. George, who had teen so kind to her all her life. He was the only one of her loved ones in the Dixie country. A few years later, Uncle Ezra went on a mission. While he was on his mission, Grandfather Bunker, Aunt Emily, her son Francis and his wife, and many others went to Mexico to live.
A dear friend told me she remembers being in the special meeting and program that was held for all the dear relatives that went to Mexico. She said it was just like a funeral. Everyone was so sad to have so many loved ones leave this town at once. Needless to say, this was a sad parting for Grandmother and her family. Grandmother Mary never saw her husband again, because he passed away soon after they arrived in Mexico.
For several years, Grandmother hadn't been feeling too well. Sometimes when called to homes of the sick, she would have to sit and tell others what to do. Steadily she grew worse. Her sons and daughters took her to the doctors in St. George and Cedar City. They could not help her. Several times through the fasting and prayers of her family and the Ward members, she would rally and be able to walk around. Later she was seriously ill. During her long serious illness, the dear friends and relatives in Bunkerville helped every way they could to care for Grandmother. She was never known to complain of her suffering. Her faith and trust in her Heavenly Father was sublime. She gave to her posterity a powerful testimony of the truth of the Gospel, and an example of righteous living that should stimulate her grandchildren and great-grandchildren to increased devotion for righteous living. I well remember her suffering. Nettie and I took turns staying with Aunt May where Grandmother lived. We helped all we could in the home. This was a sad experience we have never forgotten---to watch our grandmother suffer so much. What a strength her beautiful, patient life has been to me through all my trials. The pain was so severe in Grandmother's back, she couldn't lie down very much during her illness. She knelt by a rocking chair with her head resting on pillows to get sleep. Her knees were so bent and rigid that when she passed away, they had to put weights on them in order to get the coffin lid down. She surely went through the furnace of affliction. Her children sorrowed and suffered with her until she passed away on the 2nd of November, 1906. The funeral was held November 3, 1906. The speakers were Uncle Eddie, J. I. Earl, Henry Leavitt, Samuel Wittwer, and William Abbott. The pallbearers were---her sons---Martin, John, Ezra, Robert, Hector, and Uncle Eddie. Her son, Francis was in Mexico, though he did come back to see her once during her illness. What a noble mother they laid away. Her children found in her a wisdom seldom at fault, a patience unwearied, a trust unfailing, a love boundless and unfaltering, and a faith in God indomitable and unimpaired, though she had been sore-pressed and tried. Her faith in God was sublime. One could not know this little woman, so humble and sweet, without knowing that when she approached---God listened.
FOND MEMORIES OF AUNT MARY BUNKER
By Luella Leavitt
When I was a young girl, I heard my parents talk about Mary McQuarrie Bunker. She was about the same age as my mother, and was with her in church and social activities in the early days of Ogden City. There was three weeks between their weddings. My parents were married April 25, 1860. Aunt Mary McQuarrie was married to Edward Bunker, Sr. soon after, as his wife. Edward's first wife, Emily Abbott, was my father's oldest sister, making him my uncle. Mary was an attractive, husky, Scotch girl, bright eyes, rosy cheeks, fun loving, but modest in what she said and did. The family gave a wedding supper to Aunt Mary and Uncle Edward. For a little sport, my father, Myron Abbott, dressed as a girl with a white apron and ribbons in his hair and acted as a waiter at the table.
The two couples were called to Dixie and came together, but my mother's health was so poor, father returned to Ogden while the Bunkers stayed on. Mary's name was often mentioned in our home, and when I met her, it seemed I had always known her. On the early morning of November 18, 1877, we arrived in Bunkerville. Aunt Mary was the first woman I saw. They were living in the United Order, as one big family, even eating at the same table. Aunt Mary was head of the women in charge of cooking. We sat around a campfire visiting. Aunt Mary came up behind Thomas D. Leavitt who was sitting in a squatting position, she pulled him over backward and sat down in his place, making a good laugh. She was full of fun and everyone loved her.
Aunt Mary was handy with the sick and was later called into every home and was present at every birth. Some of her maxims are:
"Every heart knows its own sorrow, and the only cure for heartache is prayer to our Heavenly Father for His healing influence."
"There is many an aching heart behind a smiling face."
Once Aunt Mary was given a beautiful painting as a prize for being the most popular lady in town. She was selected by the Old Folk's Committee to have her photo placed on a souvenir to be given to the old people of the community on Old Folk's Day. She brought sunshine with her calls into the homes of the people. When her health broke, she went thru seven years of suffering. She was very patient thru it, never complaining and smiling when folks came to see her. There were special fasts and prayer meetings held for her by her family and friends, for she was truly a mother to all the families of the Ward.